Judo: Volante keen to bring medal back to Edinburgh

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EDINBURGH judoka Valentino Volante has his sights firmly set on bringing back a medal when he makes his Team GB debut in the Netherlands this week.

Volante, who fights in the +90kg heavyweight division, is part of a 44-strong British team selected for the European Youth Olympic Festival in Utrecht.

The 16-year-old and the rest of the British team will test themselves against more than 2300 of the finest young sportspeople from 48 other countries.

For most it represents their first experience of an international multi-sport environment and they will all be hoping to emulate the likes of Rebecca Adlington and Sam Oldham, who went from the Festival podium to medal success at the Olympic Games.

Volante has only recently returned from what was by his own admission a disappointing showing at the European Cadet Championships in Estonia, losing his first fight.

With a bronze medal at the Portugal European Cadets Cup already to his name this season, though, Volante is hoping he is saving his best for last.

“It has been a strange season for me with school getting in a way a bit meaning that I have not competed as much as I would have liked,” he said. “The Europeans were not good and I did not get anywhere which was a disappointment.

“But the bronze in the Cup in Portugal gives me a lot of confidence, this is my biggest event of the season and I want to be at my best.

“If I’m at my best then my goal will always be to win a medal and to do that for Team GB would be amazing.”

Edinburgh have another judo hopeful in Utrecht as Michelle Boyle, a former Telford College pupil, fights in the +70kg heavyweight category for girls.

And the 17-yer-old admits she cannot wait to get into the action this week.

“I want to win the gold medal at the Festival,” she said. “It’s a great opportunity for me and I want to be an Olympian by the time 2020 comes around so this is a great stepping stone in that respect.”

• The British Olympic Association prepares and leads British athletes at the summer, winter and youth Olympic Games. It works in partnership with sport National Governing Bodies to enhance Olympic success and is responsible for championing the Olympic values.